This Company Is Developing Digital Humans To Serve In The Metaverse

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Although the metaverse appears to be a science fiction novel rather than reality, some are already looking to profit from it — and, in this case, even provide a digital workforce.

Soul Machines, a New Zealand-based company, claims to be developing AI-powered artificial humans for customer service, promotional films, and education. Planning ahead, co-founder Greg Cross stated that the company intends to establish a “digital workforce” for a potential metaverse.

“When we’re playing a game, we adopt a certain persona or personality; when we’re coaching our kids’ football team, we adopt another persona, we have a different personality when we’re at the pub having a beer with our mates,” Cross stated. “As human beings, we’re always adjusting our persona and the role we have within those parameters. With digital people, we can create those constructs.”

The digital humans of Soul Machines are powered by a technology known as Humans OS 2.0.  the company’s website says that it is an “Autonomous Animation Platform” with a digital brain that allows the AI to learn from human interactions. These artificially-powered Soul machines are dragged out of the uncanny valley in the video below:

Cross believes that AI will fulfill or even copy the needs of flesh-and-blood humans in and out of the metaverse.

“At some point in the future, you might be able to create a digital version of yourself or multiple versions of yourself, and they can go out and do stuff, make money for you, make money for your company, while you’re doing something else that’s a whole lot more fun,” Cross said in a statement.

The development of digital beings primarily to serve real people presents a plethora of serious ethical concerns.

After all, if these digital humans are intelligent — however artificial — having them work for us could be equivalent to slavery or forced labor, especially if technological advances make them more conscious over time. Like the video game “Detroit: Become Human,” it may unwillingly create a new class structure of AI humans.

“[Technology] has always been used by most of us to do incredibly good things and by a few of us to do the things that aren’t very nice or simply plain evil,” he added. “That is a reflection of the human condition.”

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